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Dancing with a Demon

Chapter Text

Outside of London, resides a small cottage with two small floors. The downstairs was home to a small kitchen, and a living room with a corner full of sewing supplies. This is where I’ve called home for many years. And still lived in after the passing of my dear husband, Ethel. Unfortunately, I was only able to have one child--a daughter, whose name is Agathe. She is a dear sweet child at the age of 12. I had her at the young age of 16. My mother and father arranged a marriage with Ethel, which I personally didn’t mind. He was a sweet gentleman who was happy to do whatever made me happy.

“Mumma, have you seen Bubbles?” A sweet, innocent voice calls out as the sound of light footsteps tread along the wooden floorboards. Looking up from my sewing needle, noticing the sweet, innocent young girl with long, cascading red hair that resembled her father’s so perfectly. She rested her hands on my arm, as she held an innocent, but curious look upon her face.
“Shouldn’t he be outside?” I responded softly, trying to recall where that old cat would be. He was an old siamese cat. My late husband and I got it a year before Agathe was born. So, he was roughly around 13 years old.
“I checked, but he wasn’t.” Said Agathe, as she gave a pouty frown. I let out a sigh, as I put on a thinking face. I sat the sewing needle and the dress I was working on onto the table in front of me.
“I will help you look,” I replied as I moved to stand up. Brushing the wrinkles out of my brown skirt.

I walked with Agathe out of the room, and towards the front door. “Perhaps he is hiding?” I suggested in a soft voice, as we stepped out into the coldness of the outside world. I shivered slightly, as the weather had gotten colder these last few days. “It is rather cold out, maybe he’s just hiding somewhere warm.” I added, as I began to scout the area. But to no luck.
I stopped looking, and approached where Agathe was looking. “Mumma, he’s in here!” She shouted as she pointed to an outdoor cabinet that the drawers were trying to open.
I let out a laugh, and opened the drawers carefully. Revealing the siamese puffball sleeping soundly in a corner.

“Silly little one, however did you end up in here?” I ask, as I reached in, carefully picking the cat up. I glanced at Agathe, with a sweet smile on my face, I asked: “Sweetheart, could you open the door for me?” She ran quickly over to the front door, opening it enough to allow me to walk in without disturbing the cat who seemed to be throwing a fit, due to being awoken from its slumber.
“Mumma, how did I not think to look in there?” She cries, as she shuts the door behind me. Stomping on the rug that sat in front of the door. The dirt falling off her small, brown shoes.
“Maybe you weren’t thinking of that.” I answered softly, setting the cat down gently. I moved passed Agathe, moving quickly into the kitchen. “How about I make us some tea before bed?” I offered with a smile on my face, watching as the young girl followed behind, placing a seat on the small dining table. As soon as I placed the kettle on the gas stove, a loud knock erupted from the door. I glanced at Agathe with suspicion, wondering who could be at the door this late hour. “Can you watch the kettle for me, sweetheart?” I asked, as I cautiously moved out of the kitchen.

I opened the door carefully, revealing a tall, old man with well-groomed hair and a grey beard. “Ms. Ahern?” The man said, his voice incredibly deep. Then again, he did appear to be old, possibly in his 50’s? I wasn’t sure how to respond, wondering who this man could be. Knowing I had never seen him a day in my life. 
“Yes, that is me.” I answered with uncertainty as to who this man could be.
“This is an invitation for you. Please respond by the end of next week.” The man said, then briefly walking away after I had taken the letter-or invitation from his hand. I looked at the envelope that was holding the curious invitation. Who would send me an invitation? It’s not like I come from nobility or anything like that.

I let out a sigh, as I walked back inside, shutting the door behind me. “Who was that mumma?” Agathe’s voice startled me slightly, causing me to slightly jump.
“Nobody, sweetie. I thought you were watching the kettle?” I asked, as I walked with her back into the kitchen. Hiding the envelope I was holding so obviously in my right hand. I mentally sighed, wondering when to open it without Agathe knowing. I don’t want it to be a ball invitation, and crush her dreams when I have to tell her we have no money for transportation, or fancy ball gowns.

“What kind of tea would you like, chamomile or herbal?” I asked, as I pulled out two boxes of tea leaves. Placing them gently down on the counter, before reaching up to grab two tea cups from the cabinet that hung above the stove.
“Herbal!” She exclaimed, as she clapped her hands happily while jumping in her seat. I chuckled softly at her, reminding myself of how fast she has grown.
I carefully brewed the tea leaves, counting the minutes until they were ready to be poured. “Mrs. Klein will be watching you tomorrow while I’m at work.” I informed, as I poured the tea into two tea cups gently, then placing them on the small dining table.

“I don’t like her, she’s all mean and tries to make me be all ladylike.” Agathe complained, as she faked a mad face. I tried to hold back a laugh, as I took a sip of my tea.
“Would you rather be in a school full of girls who are stuck up?” I asked, remembering having to attend a school where all they made me do was walk with books on my head, and learn how to speak with proper manners. Personally, I never cared; however, when my parents were alive, they could afford ‘quality education’ for me. I prefered to read and actually learn about important things. Not how to be a proper lady.
“No, but-” I cut her off there, reminding her that Mrs. Klein is just trying to be nice and helpful.
“She is the only one who will watch you without charge.” I said, then letting out a sigh as I place the cup of tea on the table. “Besides, she only wants the best for you. As do I.” I added, trying to sound as gentle as possible.
“I know, but-”
“No more buts. Now, go get ready for bed. I will read you a story if you hurry.” I said, then laughing as she stomped out of the kitchen.

My attention turned back to the letter, as I placed it on the table. Hesitating for a few moments whether to open it or not. Thinking to myself, ‘what if this is a joke?’ or ‘what if whoever sent this, actually sent it to the wrong person?’ I couldn’t bring myself to believe this was an invitation for me. After all, who would send me an invitation with a personal mail carrier? I opened the letter carefully, as I pulled out the white piece of paper that was neatly folded.
Holding my breath, I scanned the words. In big, bold letters read, “You have been invited to the Trancy Ball”. I tried to recall who the Trancys were. I continued reading the words that were so carefully written on the paper. It was obvious it came from someone who works for the Trancys. But, what would they want with me? Why would someone like me, be invited to an event such as a ball?

Honestly, it doesn’t even make sense.

Chapter Text

I walked into the boutique that was filled with beautiful dresses made by the talented workers in store, including myself. Of course, us simple workers don’t get any of the credit. It all goes to Lady Smitton. The lady who was given the boutique from her husband, the second most richest man in London. She was a cruel woman, but she did have her moments where she was kind. However, as I walked into the backroom, carrying the dress I had prepared the previous night, I could tell it was going to be a busy day.

I checked the schedule that was hanging on the wall beside the many sewing tables. Apparently there was an appointment scheduled to meet with… me?! I glanced at the schedule even closer, then almost fainting as I saw who the meeting was with. ‘Earl Alois Trancy’ it read nice and neatly. Who the hell is this person? They must’ve been stalking me, because why would I first get an invitation to a ball that I definitely do not belong in? And why would they suddenly have an appointment to meet with me? There’s something absolutely not right here.

I placed the dress neatly on one of the racks in the backroom, before noticing that my fellow coworker, Ember Woods, had arrived. “Good morning, Freyja.” She greets with a warm smile. The only person in this whole entire boutique that actually enjoys my presence. She pushes her bright blonde hair behind her ear, as she placed a dress she had been carrying on the same rack as the one I had finished.
“I see you finished the dress for that fine lady from Paris,” I pointed out with a small chuckle, as I glanced at her from behind my light brown hair.
“Yes, I finally did. I hope she will like it,” Ember replied with a hopeful look on her face. The lady from Paris, Madame Beaufort, was our first international customer. It made everyone in the boutique extremely happy to know we’re gaining a worldwide audience.
“Do you think we will get customers from places like Japan?” I asked out of curiosity, sitting on one of the wooden stools placed in front of my sewing table. My blue eyes staring out into the distance as I tried to imagine all of the lovely people we would get to design dresses for.
“One day we might, but that’s if Lady Smitton actually allows it.” Ember answered with a sigh, knowing how cruel she can be. I brushed it over my shoulder, not allowing for her to ruin my day.
“By the way, who is Alois Trancy?” I questioned, glancing over at Ember who was browsing the racks of dresses that were newly made.
“Oh, the young lad who hosts the most magnificent balls?”
“You know him?”
“Yeah, you have an appointment with him today.”
“Is he coming here or?”
“You have a meeting with him at his manor, I believe it’s somewhere outside of London.”

There was a moment of silence. Why the hell didn’t anyone inform me? I let out a sigh of frustration. And how the hell am I to get there? If it’s outside of London, there’s no way I’m going to be able to make it in time for the appointment.
“I will arrange transportation, don’t worry, Freyja.” Ember reassured, as she exited the backroom.
“You don’t have to do that,” I answered as I tried to catch up to her. But she was already out of the boutique. Letting out yet another sigh of frustration, I move quickly to gather all the supplies I would need. Trying to think to myself, why a young lad would want a dress? Maybe to impress his betrothed? Surely that could be it, but how young is this poor boy? Or should I say, how young is this rich boy?

I never quite understood nobles. Although, it was the same scenario with me and my late husband, being arranged into a marriage. However, nobles often marry their cousins. Which, quite honestly, is a bit strange. Then again, nobles must marry other nobles. It must be strange having to marry a relative. But then again, who am I to complain? I guess it didn’t really matter if you had all the money in the world. It is strange, however, that I would receive an invitation to a ball, and have an appointment where I’m to meet at his manor. Sure, it’s common we occasionally have to travel; however, it’s not THAT common. Hopefully this isn’t a trap.

“Freyja, your carriage is outside. Enjoy your time while you’re there.” Ember said as she entered the room. I was still entirely on edge about this. Not sure whether I should go, or request their presence here instead. But, if I refuse, then I will most likely lose my job. And that’s the last thing I need in my life right now.
“Thank you, Ember. That is up most kind of you.” I thanked her, then carrying what I could out of the boutique. I waved ‘goodbye’ and proceeded into the carriage. Placing the supplies and other objects I would need in order to be successful in this appointment. I sat back, and awaited for the carriage to start moving. Not sure how to explain to Mrs. Klein why I’m late returning home. I do hope Agathe will be alright for the time being.

Then I remembered, the invitation had to be responded to within a week, right? Maybe I could just respond since I’m there, and politely decline. What right do I have attending a ball at some fancy mansion? I barely manage to act like a proper lady. Never have I learned how to dance. Damn, I seriously hope whoever sent the invitation won’t be too offended. After all, they should know better than to invite a commoner such as myself. And how did they find out my address? I don’t exactly live close to town. Surely there has to be something wrong here. Did Lady Smitton set this up, and it’s all a joke? Is she trying to get rid of me? Because if that’s the case, it’s not going to be that easy. Especially since I’ve worked there since I had Agathe. And that was 12 years ago!

When I opened my eyes, I noticed we were pulling up to a rather luxurious mansion. It felt as if my eyes were about to fall out of their sockets. And I was invited to attend a ball here? I’m in no shape of form fit to attend a ball at this fancy mansion! It looked like a giant palace, and I was a tiny ant about to be squashed by those who reside in it. I took in a deep breath, as I noticed the carriage coming to a complete stop. I grabbed hold of the brown leather case sitting beside me, as I prepared to exit. I made sure I looked somewhat presentable, removing my hair from its raggedy bun, allowing it to cascade down my back. My blue eyes piercing out of the carriage as I noticed triplets with.. Purple hair approaching. ‘That’s odd’ I thought to myself, as I moved closer to the carriage door.

The driver opened the door, carefully assisting me out. I silently thanked him, holding the case in my right hand as I stood in front of the triplets. “Hello, I’m Mrs. Ahern. I have an appointment with the head of the house?” I spoke, noticing they were a rather silent pair. Were they unable to speak? Or are they deaf? Oh dear, I hope I didn’t offend them.
They turned around and began to walk back towards the mansion. I hesitated a moment, unsure if I really wanted to follow them. However, I carefully followed behind, making sure to keep my distance so I wouldn’t run into them.

We entered the mansion, and it was even more exquisite than it was on the exterior. Whoever lives here must be richer than Lady Smitton’s husband. The accents of red and gold complimented each other perfectly. It made my heart swoon. I brought myself back down to earth, as I noticed the triplets stopped walking. A maid, who was incredibly taller than me, approached us. Her hair was perfectly braided down her back. She showed me a warm smile, then dismissing the triplets. “I am Hannah, I will be escorting you to my master.” She seemed rather kind; however, something about her eyes seemed to set me off a bit. And her hair was an unusual colour.. Who has lilac hair? Nobody!

“Thank you,” I answered trying not to show any signs of uncertainty. I moved carefully behind her as she ascended the staircase. I noticed on the right side, there was an identical set of stairs leading up. I almost feel bad for the servants. I’m sure these must be hard to maintain. However, whoever keeps up with the mansion does one hell of a job.
“This mansion is exquisite,” I complimented trying to make the silence somewhat less awkward. However, I could tell that making smalltalk would make it even more awkward for some reason.
“Yes it is, we servants take pride in trying to preserve its beauty.” Hannah answers softly, almost too kindly. As if she’s trying to make it seem as though she isn’t offended or annoyed with my presence.

Brushing it off, I kept mostly to myself. Silently admiring the paintings that lined the hallway. Occasionally sneaking a peek out the windows as we walked by the grand windows that lined the hallway across from the paintings. Still feeling as if I’m about to be squashed because I entered a territory I do not belong in. We approached a large wooden door, which I assumed to be the office that belonged to the head of this house-or mansion. “Please wait here,” Hannah requested as she proceeded into the room without me. I assumed it was to inform the master of my arrival. I let out a sigh, as I turned around and approached the large painting that seemed to look like a family who might live or have lived here.

“Magnificent, isn’t it?” A masculine voice asked from beside me, almost causing me to jump out of my skin. I noticed a rather tall man, dressed in a butler’s uniform standing tall beside me.
“Indeed, but the young boy seems too sad.” I answered, making sure to be careful with my words. Because something inside of me was telling me to avoid this man at all costs. “The boy should be full of life, he should be happy to have such fine clothing.” I added, almost feeling pity for the boy in the painting. Somewhat hoping I wasn’t insulting any member of the household that might’ve been in the painting.
“What do you assume the boy is feeling sad about, then?” He continued on the conversation, almost as if he was interested in my input. However, by the tone of his voice, it almost sounded like he wasn’t interested. His voice was almost cold sounding.

“Perhaps he had just lost someone dear to him. Perhaps a younger sibling, maybe a brother?” I suggested, then taking a glance at the man beside me. He seemed to catch my gaze, almost causing my heart to stop for a moment. “I’m being incredibly rude, I apologise.” I quickly changed the topic, realising I was basically insulting a piece of artwork in someone’s home.
“No need to fret,” He answers rather politely. Damn, are all the servants almost sickenly kind?
“I have no place to be commenting on possibly expensive pieces of artwork.” I commented, feeling myself become rather nervous now. I’ve already messed up. Who is to say I won’t mess up more?
“My young master would like to see you now,” He informs then moves over towards the large wooden door. Opening it enough for me to slip through.

I mouthed a ‘thank you’, and entered the room cautiously. The room was decorated beautifully with bookcases on both sides. The sun shining through the large windows. “Claude, who is this, I asked for the prettiest servant they have!” A shrill voice cried, almost causing me to scold the boy. Surely this can’t be the head of the household? He is way too immature. That is no way to talk to someone older than him!
“I apologise, your highness. I will escourt her out.” The butler said. Huh, so his name is Claude? Doesn’t that mean, ‘lame’ in Latin?
“Excuse me? I’m getting paid for this appointment. I’m not going anywhere.” I argued, finally breaking. I was about to slap the boy; however, I didn’t wish to get arrested for assaulting a noble. That’s the last thing I need on my record.

“What?!” The blond boy shouted, standing up from his chair.
“You heard me right, so either you shut your piehole and don’t waste my time any longer, or we will no longer do business with anyone in this household.” I continued, almost rambling by the time I was finished. However, I wasn’t putting up with his immaturity. Agathe is 12 and doesn’t act like this! Because she was raised right. Whoever raised this child must not have done a good job. And he looks older than Agathe!
“Who gave you the right to talk to me like that?!” He continued, which caused me to break even further.
“I’m done here.” I said, then storming out of the room. Sure that wasn’t the most professional thing to do, but I couldn’t handle his attitude any longer. I quickly walked down the hall, and by the time I reached the front door, the boy was running after me.
“You can work here! I’ll pay you more than they do!” He shouted, causing me to stop walking.
I turned around, giving the boy a confused look. “First you call me ugly, then you want me to work for you?” I responded in disbelief.

“You can bring whoever you like with you!” He continued, which made me even more confused.
“So, say I had a daughter, I could bring her with me?” I asked, testing his offer.
“Yes, as long as she doesn’t get in the way.” The boy answered.
“Then you have a deal.” I accepted the offer, only curious to see if he is willing to see this through. Because quite honestly, I wouldn’t mind living here. Even if it meant working for a brat. But then again, who is to say I’m not allowed to train him to become properly fit to be a head of the house?

Chapter Text

The ride back to my cottage was quite awkward. The boy, Alois Trancy, insisted that his butler assisted me home to gather whatever I could. His emotionless face kept watch on me for the entirety of the trip. I could feel his gaze upon me, even when I wasn’t looking. And it really, really, made me feel uncomfortable. However, for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to tell him this. It was as if, something was holding my mouth shut.
I let out a sigh of relief, as we pulled up to the pathway of my home. I didn’t even wait for him to exit first, I practically ran out of the carriage, and sprinted up the gravel path.
“Agathe, I’m home!” I shouted as I walked into the house.

“Freyja, you’re home early.” Mrs. Klein said as she entered from the kitchen.
“Where’s Agathe?” I asked, as I removed my brown coat, hanging it up on a hook by the door.
“Mumma!” The sweet voice cried out, as Agathe ran out from the kitchen. Her entire face covered in flour. I softly laughed at her face, wiping off the white dust particles that littered her face.
“I see you two had a wonderful time.”
“We weren’t expecting you home until late,” Mrs. Klein answered in shock.
“Ah, well, there has been a change of plans.” I informed, as I took a short glance behind me. Noticing the butler, Claude, was now inside the house.
“Who is this fine lad?” Mrs. Klein swooned as she approached him. Running her hands all among his torso. Surprised he wasn’t phased by her actions.

“Mrs. Klein, that’s not appropriate!” I cried, shielding Agathe’s eyes as my face grew red as a tomato.
“My apologies, but where did you find a nice lad like him?” She asked in a silly way that was quite out of character for her.
“He works for the Trancy manor, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” I answered, then uncovering the young girl’s eyes once Mrs. Klein stepped away from Claude.
“Tch, Freyja, you’re lowering yourself to servants now?”
“I never said I was interested in being with him!”
“Oh come on, Freyja, I could set you up with one of my husband’s younger brothers that are about your age.”
“Mrs. Klein, if you’re going to keep acting like that in front of my daughter, please leave.”

“Agathe, can you run upstairs and pack whatever you can?” I requested, without further explanation.
Mrs. Klein sighed as she made her exit, without anymore words to say. “I apologise for her rudeness, she usually isn’t like that.”
“There’s no need to worry,” Claude answers without much emotion showing that he is offended or unoffended.
“I will return with all that I can.” I informed, then quickly making a trip upstairs.
“Mumma, why are we packing all our stuff?” Agathe asks, as she stands outside of her room.
“I got myself a better job that pays well. Agathe, you will get to live in a mansion with your mumma,” I answered as excited as her facial expression grew.
“Are you serious?” She asks, her voice full of joy and happiness.
“Indeed, now go finish packing. We don’t have long!” I shouted as I entered my room. I reached beneath the bed, pulling out a few suitcases I kept handy just in case.

Then it hit me, who is going to take Bubbles? Surely I can’t bring him along. I thought for a moment, trying to think of a possible solution. Would Mrs. Klein take the cat? Or would Ember? Maybe I can take him with us for only a short time until I can find someone who will take the cat.
I finished packing while trying to think of a solution. I carried my suitcases down the stairs, and noticed that Agathe was already waiting for me, and was already holding Bubbles.
“Mumma, the nice man said we can take Bubbles with us!” She exclaimed, almost dropping the cat as she jumped in her spot.
“Really? That was awfully kind of you,” I said while glancing at Claude with a smile of uncertainty.
“Are you ready to depart?” He asks rather formally.
“Of course, though it’s sad to leave this place.” I said with a weary smile.
“Mumma, will daddy be mad that we left?”

That question broke my heart into pieces, noticing her sad face. I wiped away a tear, as I brought her in for a tight hug. “No, your father would want us to be happy.” I reassured, almost fully breaking down into tears.
“Let’s go,” I said as I recollected myself and pulled away from the hug. I grabbed hold of Agathe’s hand, and walked out of the house. Making sure to lock it behind us, just in case we ever wanted to return. Claude was already waiting for us by the carriage. And the siamese cat, Bubbles, was following us close behind.
“Wow, we get to ride in a carriage?” Agathe asked as her eyes widened.
“Yes, Princess Agathe,” I jokingly answered as I helped her into the carriage.
I sat beside her as I wrapped my arm around her. Her small head resting beneath my chest, as I could tell she was growing rather sleepy.
“Sleep, we will be there shortly.” I said softly, as I ran my fingers through her soft, red hair.

Chapter Text

I walked with Agathe, carefully guiding her through the halls as we were being taken to the servants quarters. “Thank you for showing us the way, Hannah.” I kindly thanked, trying to keep my voice soft as to not abruptly awaken Agathe who was barely awake already.
“You’re quite welcome,” she answers just as kindly. Then stops at a small door, then turning to glance at us. “This will be your daughter’s room. I’m sure she would appreciate her own room,” Hannah informed with a smile on her face.
“Are you sure that will be alright?” I asked, uncertain about the idea. But I didn’t hesitate taking her into the room. Gently laying her down on the bed, chuckling softly as she instinctively fell right back to sleep.

I left the room, and continued down the hall with Hannah. “Why are you being so nice?” I ask out of curiosity, as she led me further down the hall.
“The master has ordered it,” she answers quite instantly. Making me quite confused, because I wouldn’t think a master such as Alois Trancy would be so kind as to offer Agathe her own room. Which, to be honest--it seems a bit suspicious. However, I guess it would be rude to refuse such hospitality. Especially since I am not going to be living here as a royal.
“Now this is your room, you may decorate it however you wish.” She informs, opening a door that is on the opposite side of Agathe’s room, just only a few doors down.

I entered the room slowly, glancing at every crack in the wall, and the bland decor of the room. Not wanting to show displeasure, I turned around and forced a smile. “Thank you, will I be required to make a uniform?” I asked, but she was already gone. ‘That’s odd,’ I thought to myself. But rolling my eyes as I opened the closet. Noticing there were some uniforms already placed in there. Along with some quite exquisite nightgowns.
I pulled one off the hanger carefully, examining its fine material on the tips of my fingers. Quite impressed with such fine quality I was given. Someone else had to be behind this, considering how rude the Earl is.

I went to bed that night, thinking everything would be alright. That Agathe and me would be fine here. However, I couldn't sleep at all. I kept dreaming about that butler for some odd reason. It’s like the moment I stepped inside the mansion, that my dreams decided to be plagued with images of him. And most of my dreams weren’t exactly family friendly. By the third time I was woken by those dreams, I had basically given up on sleep.
The dreams were mostly him seducing me, and luring me into some form of trap. This seemed to happen so fast, as I hardly had any contact with him. It hasn’t even been more than a full day, and I’ve already begun to regret the decision. However, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to make a better living for Agathe and me.

I got up out of bed, wrapping one of the thin sheets around me as I exited the room. Letting out a sigh of annoyance as the hallway was incredibly dark. I re-entered my bedroom, searching for a candle and match to light the dark. After finding no success, I decided to embrace the darkness and walk out without any idea as to where I’m going.
I left the room once again, keeping close to the wall as I tried to guide myself down the hall. Then it hit me, I don’t even know where the kitchen is. ‘Nice job, Freyja,’ a voice said in my head as I was further in the darkness and didn’t even know how to return to my room. I leaned myself against the wall, as I stood there for a few minutes, trying to think of a plan.

I slid onto the floor, as my mind kept replaying those vivid dreams. I didn’t even know where the source of these dreams were coming from. Was it something I ate? Was I actually drugged, and none of this is real? Damn, Freyja. That’s a lot of things going on at once.
“Freyja, what are you doing awake at this hour?” It was the butler. Reality struck me, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid him. Hoping that would make the dreams cease to exist. I opened my eyes, and noticed a light was coming from a candelabra.
“I’m so sorry, I was trying to find my way to the kitchen.” I apologised, quickly standing up from the ground. “I haven’t been able to sleep,” I informed, as I made sure to keep a reasonable distance.

“Any particular reason?” He asks, surprisingly interested in why I wasn’t able to sleep. Red flags started to go off in my mind; however, I kept thinking, ‘there’s no way he could be forcing dreams onto me.’ As that would be highly impossible. I tried to think of a believable reason--except, nothing was coming to mind. And no way in hell would I ever tell him about those dreams. Not only are they highly inappropriate, but also extremely unladylike.
“New place?” I replied, which sounded more like a question. I closed my eyes as I let out a sigh. “I’m sorry, I’ll return to my room.”
“I will bring you some tea,” Claude answers, which surprised me. He didn’t seem like the type to be kind or generous.
“Thank you,” I softly said then walking the opposite way.

After entering my room, I closed the door behind me, and locking it tightly. ‘What have I gotten myself into,’ I thought to myself, as I walked over to a small dresser with a mirror above it. I stared into it for a good five minutes, before I heard a knock echo from the door.
“Just a minute,” I shouted, then turning back to the mirror. Letting out a sigh, I approached the door. Unlocking it cautiously.
“I have brought you your tea,” Claude informs, which still seems to surprise me.
“Y-You didn’t have to do that,” I stammered as I almost stumbled back.
“My master ordered that we take care of our new staff member,”
“He doesn’t seem like the type to do that.” I answered in disbelief, as I tried to hold my tongue. Last thing I need is to be issued a beating just because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut.

“Is everything alright, Freyja?” He asks, realising he must’ve noticed my distance.
“I’m just not used to being in a new place,” I began, trying to figure out what to say since I’ve almost been caught. “It’s only been me and Agathe for many years.” I finished, with an awkward smile, as I sat on the edge of my bed.
“And what happened to your husband?”
“He died when Agathe was very young,”
“How did he die?”
“Why do you wish to know? I’m just a low commoner such as yourself.”
The silence filled the air, then letting out a sigh. “That was rude of me, I’m sorry.”
“No, I shouldn’t have asked something so personal.” He answers, then setting the teacup on the nightstand.
He was standing rather close, which made me a bit uneasy. “If there is anything I can do, don’t hesitate to ask.” He said, then left the room rather swiftly.

I let out a breath I wasn’t realising I was holding captive. I fell back onto my bed, as I stared up at the ceiling. Finally falling back to sleep, without anymore dreams to worry about. But what definitely worried me about, was the following morning. When the real work was about to begin. And the real questions if I made the right choice to come here, was the best thing.